Diane Arbus (1923-1971)

Taxicab driver at the wheel with two passengers, N.Y.C. 1956

“Diane Arbus (… March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer. Arbus’s imagery helped to normalize marginalized groups and highlight the importance of proper representation of all people. She photographed a wide range of subjects including strippers, carnival performers, nudists, people with dwarfism, children, mothers, couples, elderly people, and middle-class families. She photographed her subjects in familiar settings: their homes, on the street, in the workplace, in the park. ‘She is noted for expanding notions of acceptable subject matter and violates canons of the appropriate distance between photographer and subject. By befriending, not objectifying her subjects, she was able to capture in her work a rare psychological intensity.’ In his 2003 New York Times Magazine article, ‘Arbus Reconsidered,’ Arthur Lubow states, ‘She was fascinated by people who were visibly creating their own identities—cross-dressers, nudists, sideshow performers, tattooed men, the nouveaux riches, the movie-star fans—and by those who were trapped in a uniform that no longer provided any security or comfort.’ … In her lifetime she achieved some recognition and renown with the publication, beginning in 1960, of photographs in such magazines as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, London’s Sunday Times Magazine, and Artforum. In 1963 the Guggenheim Foundation awarded Arbus a fellowship for her proposal entitled, ‘American Rites, Manners and Customs’. She was awarded a renewal of her fellowship in 1966. John Szarkowski, the director of photography at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City from 1962 to 1991, championed her work and included it in his 1967 exhibit New Documents along with the work of Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand. Her photographs were also included in a number of other major group shows. In 1972, a year after her suicide, Arbus became the first photographer to be included in the Venice Biennale where her photographs were ‘the overwhelming sensation of the American Pavilion’ and ‘extremely powerful and very strange”. …”
Was Diane Arbus the Most Radical Photographer of the 20th Century?
NY Times – Through Her Lens Darkly: Diane Arbus’s Life Was as Raw as Her Work
ArtBlart – Exhibition: ‘diane arbus: in the beginning’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
YouTube: Masters of Photography Diane Arbus Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
YouTube: The World of Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus

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